Building a brand - know, like and trust

Building and maintaining a brand is vital to the long term success of your business. Everything you do has an impact on your brand.  Here we take a look at how you can build your brand.

Building your brand
People purchase a product or service from you because they know, like and trust your business. Sales people often use their skills to help a prospect know, like and trust them as an individual. Most will do this naturally during the sales process. Marketers on the other hand, often forget the importance of know, like and trust.

How do we get to know, like and trust a brand?
Initially someone will judge your brand on face value. Yes, that's right, they want you to look good, sound good and have a reputation. They may also judge you on the way in which they came into contact with your brand. Was it a referral from a friend or colleague, an advert online, a mention on a social networking site or a press article?

Each contact you have with that person will slowly build their perceptions of your brand. The key is to build a common brand perception and solidify it over time.

Now you've got the 'know' and 'like' parts sorted you'll need to build trust.
Keeping in contact with people is vitally important. Too little contact leads a customer to feel isolated. This isolation can mean they question your motives when you do contact them. Do you only email when you want something?

Knowledge can also have a major impact on trust. If your business is perceived to be an expert in its field, you'll immediately create trust. You can show off your knowledge through newsletters and regular contact with your customers and prospects. This returns us back to 'knowing' your brand and so the process starts again.

We must ensure that our customers continue to know, like and trust us. We also need to show them that we value the relationship and continue to remind them of our brand values. Customers like to know what to expect and the best way to build expectations is through consistency of appearance and message.

Making the most of email newsletters

It would be easy to write hundreds of pages about making the most of email newsletters but very few of us have time to read that much. For that reason this article summaries some of the key points, pitfalls and opportunities you should be aware of when creating your email newsletters.

Newsletters aren't sales pitches but they can produce sales
Many marketers fall into the trap of either selling too hard on their newsletters or not selling enough. There is no magic combination of words and images, nor is there a specific balance of sales and marketing that results in the perfect newsletter. However, there are some basic guidelines you should follow.
  1. A newsletter should be more editorial than advertorial. That means you should be marketing more than selling. 
  2. A newsletter should seek to build your brand values. Communicate what makes you special and re-enforce these points with examples and evidence of expertise. Recipients want to know what your unique selling points are. 
  3. Focus on the benefits of buying from you. You don't need to explicitly state these benefits, simply work them into your communications. Case studies are a great way to provide interesting content and feature benefits. 
  4. Don't forget to ask the recipient to take action. If you don't ask you won't get. It's important to tell the recipient what you want them to do.
  5. Train recipients to focus on the key areas of your communication. Try to create hot spots in your email newsletter design. Train the recipient to look at these areas on each communication and then utilise this behaviour when you want to sell to them. Featuring an offer in these hot spots can dramatically increase click through rates and exposure.
Never mislead your subscribers
If you promote an email as a newsletter, ensure that's exactly what you're sending. The modern consumer can see when they're being sold to, over step the mark and you could alienate your subscribers forever. When someone signs-up to your newsletter they build an expectation. Manage this expectation by explaining exactly what they will receive from you and how often.

Plan, test and review your newsletter
Plan your newsletters. This plan could be as simple as outlining when you will send your newsletter and who you will send it to. The aim is to ensure two things:
  • That you produce and send the newsletter regularly. Newsletters build business over time. They produce long term results if they're sent on a regular basis.
  • To outline who will receive the newsletter and help you plan content and resources accordingly.
Test your newsletter. The aim is to find out what content is most popular with your readers, when the best time is to send your newsletter and how you can improve and return more on your investment.

Review your newsletter. A yearly review will help you identify any shortfalls in your newsletter marketing. It will create a forum for discussion and can help maintain content quality and improve results. If possible, try to involve your readers in this process. Ask them what they like to read and what type of content they'd like to receive in the future.

5 common email marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

We're all guilty of making the odd mistake when it comes to email marketing, so we thought it was time we take a look at some of the most common ones and how you can avoid making them next time around.

Messing up email personalisation
When experimenting with email personalisation be very careful with your personalisation tags. The last thing you want is to send an email that is supposed to read ‘Dear John’ but instead you end up with ‘Dear firstname’.

The personalisation tag within NewZapp is @firstname@, but forget to include those little @ symbols or spell it wrong and you can say goodbye to any personalisation.

If you don’t have first names for everyone in your subscriber list but still want to personalise your email, we recommend going with ‘Hi’ to start. Unlike ‘Dear’ or ‘To’, ‘Hi’ doesn't need a follow on name to make sense. When you use ‘Hi @firstname@’ within NewZapp but you don’t actually have the person’s first name, it will simply convert to ‘Hi’.

Not sending test emails
If you don’t send tests, how are you going to proof your email? You want to make sure the email is displaying correctly, your links are working and your images are loading.

While everything looks fine and dandy with the email when you're creating and previewing it, the chance of it looking completely different in the inbox is highly likely. This is because email clients (Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail etc.) all render HTML differently, so how your email will look in the inbox depends on the email client it’s sent to. For this reason we highly recommend sending tests to all the major email clients or using a testing system like Litmus. Oh, and don’t forget to send tests to your colleagues for proofreading.

Emailing the wrong people
So you've created this amazing email, proofed it and sent it out only to realise you sent it to the wrong people. To avoid this from happening the best thing you can do is be careful, overly careful!

Within NewZapp you have the means to create groups for your subscribers. This is ideal for segmenting your database and ensuring you send to the correct people.  Just make sure your groups are clearly labelled and indicate exactly who is in that group or on that list you just uploaded.

Not designing for mobiles
With the widespread acceptance of smart phones and tablets, proper email rendering in mobile devices has become crucial to the success of your email marketing campaigns, but finding a way to deliver an email that renders correctly in all screen sizes is a challenge.

Currently, most marketers create a separate email for mobile users and deliver it based on subscriber preferences or provide a link in their email to open a mobile-friendly version in the device’s web browser. But by taking advantage of some new coding techniques it’s now possible to deliver both desktop and mobile-friendly versions automatically depending on which device the email is viewed on.

All NewZapp accounts can have a basic mobile responsive template added to their accounts for free, or you can work with our design team on something a little more bespoke.

Not including social media buttons
Integrating social media into your emails helps to boost word of mouth publicity. Forgetting social buttons is a critical mistake, and while it’s unlikely to lose you subscribers, it’s costing you potential loyal fans. It’s also important to put social share buttons in your email so that the content can be easily shared and hopefully seen by hundreds, if not thousands, of potential new customers.

Open and click through rates explained

Within your NewZapp account you have the means to view the statistics on each of your email campaigns, and the most avidly watched aspect of these reports is how many people opened and clicked on an email. All of this information can be found under your LIVE! Reports tab.

So let's have a look at what these terms actually mean and how they are calculated.

What do we mean when we talk about open rates?
The way in which we determine an email has been "opened" is when a reaction is logged on our servers e.g. the servers know when images have been displayed in an email or when a link in an email has been clicked.

How do we know the images in an email have been displayed?
The images in the emails that you create in your NewZapp account are not actually sent with the email (they aren't embedded). This is regardless of whether they are in parts of the template design that you can't edit, or whether they are images you have uploaded yourself as part of your content. All of these images sit on our servers and wait to be "called into action". Once your email has been viewed with images displayed then our servers can log the exact time, along with the email address of the recipient and provide you with the knowledge that your email has been opened.

And is it the same principle for knowing that links have been clicked?
Yes. Well, it's very similar. The way we achieve the data on a link being clicked (whether it's a link on a piece of text or a link on an image) is by very briefly diverting any link included in an email to our servers before it then goes to the link destination. It happens in an instant but that visit to our servers is the trigger that enables us to collect valuable data for you.

Do images have to have been displayed for the links in an email to work?
No. Regardless of whether images have been displayed, if your link is a text link then your recipient will be able to see it and click it so we can class the email as "opened".

Will I know if my email has been opened if someone is receiving a text only version?
Yes. If someone is viewing your email as a text only email (which may be the case with some mobile devices) then the link that NewZapp provides at the top to "View this email online" is valuable in two ways:

1) It provides the recipient with an option to see the email in all its HTML glory via a web browser.

2) By means of the link being clicked you've gathered your data on the email being opened.

I don't want to have images or links in an email but I still want to know if the email has been opened.
Unfortunately nothing worth having in life is easy to achieve! But if you don't intend to place any call to action links within your email then you need to ask yourself, what it is that you are hoping to achieve from the campaign?

If it's purely a campaign to send information to your database that is not critical or requires any action on their part, or for them to contact you then you may have to accept that you won't be able to monitor how many emails have been read. For this option to be effective it will be more important than ever to follow the mantra of sending to a database that is current and clean, and using a subject line and from address that are relevant and engaging.

Click through rates, isn't that just the total number of clicks?
No. The click through rate of a campaign is centred around how many unique clicks you have achieved.

A unique click is a click on a link in your email by one person. If everyone who clicks on a link only did so once then your unique clicks figure would be the same as your "total clicks". But sometimes people click on the same link more than once.

For example, suppose 1,000 recipients "clicked" on a particular link but 49 of them clicked on the link 3 times. In this situation you would have achieved 1,000 unique clicks, whilst the "total clicks" would be 1,098. So no matter how times a single individual clicked on the same link you still have 1,000 unique clicks.

How can I clear my browser's cache?

When you view a page or a website in your browser some of these pages and images are saved to your computer in order to speed up loading of the website. The problem is if the webpage is updated then your browser could still be loading the saved content, so this is why we recommend that you either hard refresh the page (Ctrl + F5) or clear your browsers cache.

Below we have written guides on how you can do this in Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Safari on the iPhone. Please note these instructions may differ depending on the browser version your are using e.g. Internet Explorer 10 or Internet Explorer 11.

Google Chrome
  • Open Chrome
  • Click the Customise Icon
  • Select Settings
  • Now select “History” in the top left corner.
  • Click the button at the top of the page named “Clear all browsing data…”
  • Select the items you want to clear (e.g., Clear browsing history, Clear download history, Empty the cache, Delete cookies and other site data)
  • To clear your entire cache, select everything.
  • Click Clear browsing data to confirm
  • Exit and re-launch the browser.


Internet Explorer
  • Open Internet Explorer. 
  • Click Tools in the left menu bar (if opened) or click on the Gear icon in the right toolbar.
  • Click Internet Options and choose the General tab.
  • Click the Delete... button under the "Browsing History" section.
  • Make sure you uncheck "Preserve Favourites Website Data" at the top of this window.
  • Make sure you check all options below "Preserve Favourites Website Data".
  • Click the Delete button. (Deleting files could take awhile if you have a lot of files and history.)
  • Click OK to close window.
  • Exit and re-launch the browser.

Mozilla Firefox
  • Click Tools in the upper toolbar and select Clear Recent History. Select the Time Range to clear (drop-down menu). 
  • Select everything to clear all cache.
  • Click Details to choose what history elements to clear. (e.g. cache and cookies)
  • Click the Clear Now button.
  • Exit and re-launch the browser.

Safari
  • Open Safari.
  • Click Tools in the left menu bar (if opened) or click on the Gear icon in the right toolbar.
  • Select Reset Safari from the drop-down.
  • Choose what history and other elements to clear.
  • Click the Reset button.
  • Exit and re-launch the browser.

Safari for iPhone
  • Go to settings
  • Choose the Safari program, this will open a set of options
  • Now on this screen select both “Clear History” and “Clear Cookies and Data”
  • Return to the settings menu by going to “Settings” in the top left hand corner.

What Can Cause An Unsubscribe?

In this article we take a look at why people might unsubscribe from your database. The common mindset will lead you to believe that unsubscribes can only be a bad thing, but people unsubscribe for a reason, so don’t be disheartened when someone does, just take it as feedback for the next campaign you send.

The most common reasons for unsubscribes:
  1. No relevance - The person receiving the email no longer has any interest in your email campaigns; maybe they changed jobs or circumstances. 
  2. Gone elsewhere for info - The information you provided wasn't what they had wanted or they have simply gone elsewhere for what they were looking for.
  3. Forgotten who you are - They have simply forgotten who you are and what you do. Maybe you haven’t emailed them for a while, or maybe your emails are just not clear on what your business does.
  4. Too many emails - Have you sent out too many emails in a short space of time? Have you increased from one email a month to one per week? Flooding the subscribers inbox can make them unhappy causing them to unsubscribe.
  5. Too sales based - Your email campaign was too sales orientated and the reader feels pestered. Maybe they feel like the relationship is a one way street.
  6. Content is boring or repetitive - If you have sent the same email to your subscribers more than once in a short space of time they could find this annoying and make them wonder if you have nothing new to say or offer.  
What can you do about this?
Once they have unsubscribed they are sadly gone for good. However, you can learn from these for future campaigns.
  • Make sure the campaign is relevant to your subscribers’ interests.
  • Use the Johnson Box to remind people who you are and what is inside your email. This area is provided at the top of all NewZapp templates for you to insert copy that will attract the reader's attention even when using a preview panel to preview emails before opening them in full.
  • Try adjustments to things like the type of content, the tone of the subject line and the email layout or design to encourage more link clicks and less unsubscribes.
  • State on your signup form how frequently your newsletters are and include a sample of a previous campaign.

Responsive email design... in brief!

For those of you spring chickens who have never known life without email on your phone, believe it or not, there was a time when the thought of reading emails on a mobile was just a figment of Maggie Philbin's vivid imagination on Tomorrow's World...  No? *ahem* ... me neither!

In the last decade, technology has raced ahead and we now take for granted that we can communicate on multiple levels whilst on the move, including the ability to carry our email inbox in our pocket. Checking and sending email from our phones has become second nature.

What we face now is the challenge of making sure that not only do our emails look good in any application and browser, and on the widest of monitors - but are they also legible and engaging on smaller screens? .... or just plain broken?

Rest assured "just plain broken" isn't a worry when an email is created using a template made by the NewZapp design team, but that doesn't mean to say we shouldn't keep striving for improvements and giving you the tools to make the best impression with your subscribers.

How do regular emails look on mobile?


Earlier in the year we blogged on the topic of Mobile email design and rendering, so in conjunction with that, let's have a look at where we are with mobiles and how they handle regular email marketing made with desktop screens principally in mind.

Whilst it's true to say that some mobile phones have been fairly kind to email designs in the past (eg. Apple devices!) others haven't been quite so generous in their willingness to display your email attractively on their little screens, so the email designers turned to responsive email code (media queries and other CSS snippets) to take emails on mobile up a notch.

To explain further let's take a look at a regular, nothing fancy (no responsive settings), email layout. Here you can see it as it would appear for example in Outlook 2010:


A regular email viewed in Outlook 2010 on a desktop screen


When this email is opened on an iOS (Apple) device, in its own default mail application, the device looks for the widest part of the layout and zooms out until it's happy that the whole email can sit comfortably in the screen width available. 


The same email viewed on an iOS device (iPhone)

So although it's not doing anything clever like rearranging content or increasing font sizes to make reading easier, spacing out buttons and links for fat fingers etc, it is doing its best to show you the whole email with only up and down scrolling needed, and not side-to-side. You can then zoom in if any area is too small to read/click/tap.



The same email viewed on an a typical Android phone


An android device on the other hand is more likely to zoom into the top left of your email. Whilst you might judge that this is handy for legibility, it doesn't give a great first impression. The likelihood is that you would at first zoom out from here (pinch the screen) for a better understanding of the whole message, before zooming in again to read the text.

What effect does it have receiving a responsive email?


In the very broadest terms, a responsive email will literally respond according to the screen size it's being viewed on, by arranging itself in a different way. So when we design and then code the template that you are going to use to create your emails, we can make sure we factor in the following  types of qualities to happen automatically:

  • An header image that switches to a more compact style
  • Text size that increases for clarity
  • Content re-arranges itself into a single column
  • Buttons sit wider apart
  • Some aspects can be completely hidden from the mobile version (usually for a simpler less cluttered layout)

This email was made with a responsive editable template - so that our marketing team can re-use the structure over and over again with each month's newsletter content and it's the type of structure that's proving popular with other NewZapp users.


  


If you'd like to know more about how responsive design could help your own email marketing, just give us a call or contact me if you'd like to try an unbranded responsive template in your NewZapp account.

To open or not to open, that is the question...

As email volumes continue to rise, your subscribers are faced with a constant inbox battle, to open or delete? So how can you improve the chances of your email being opened?

Before your subscribers open your email they will have relatively little to base their decision on, just the sender's name, the subject line and, in some cases, a preview pane. So here are a few tips to help you improve these areas of your email.

Sender's (From) Name
Your From Name is one of the first things your subscribers will see and it plays an important part in their decision whether to open your email or not.  It's often the case if they don't recognise who the email is from, that they will not open it.  So the key to a successful From Name is recognition. The question to ask is, do your subscribers know you personally, or do they know your company, brand or product? To increase the chance of your email being opened, it's best to use whichever would be most recognisable to your subscribers.

So what do you do if you're mailing to a list of contacts who may not know you?
Try adding detail about who you are to your From Name. For example, instead of using 'NewZapp' we might use 'NewZapp Email Marketing' or 'NewZapp - UK Email Marketing Provider'. Telling your subscribers a little more about the source of the email can help qualify yourself as a legitimate sender.

Subject line
It's just one line but it can potentially be the most important line of your campaign.  Even if you've sent your subscribers the most interesting and relevant email possible, if your Subject Line doesn't reflect this, then it's likely your email will remain unopened. Your Subject Line needs to capture their attention, but more importantly, it needs to compel them to open your email.

There is no golden rule for what makes a good Subject Line - what works for one doesn't necessarily work for all. The question of how to create a good Subject Line is a whole article on its own, but here are a few tips to get you started:
  • Communicate the value - If you're asking your subscribers to take time out of their day to read your email you must be able to communicate the benefit of doing so.  Ultimately if your subscribers fail to see any value in opening your email they are unlikely to do so.  So whether it's vital information, a new offer, or just some interesting news, you're Subject Line needs to tell your subscriber what they'll get from opening it. 
  • Keep it relevant - Your Subject Line needs to be both relevant to your subscribers and to the content of the email.  There's no point capturing their attention with a great Subject Line if it has little or no relevance to the content of your email.  While you want to make your Subject Line is interesting, it's important to communicate what your email is actually about.  In order to encourage an open, your Subject Line also needs to be relevant to your subscribers. For example, if you sent your existing customers an email with a Subject Line about first-time customer offers they may be deterred from opening, even if your email contained other topics of interest to them. 
  • DON'T DO THIS or this!!!! - While capitalisation and exclamation marks may catch the eye of some subscribers, it may not necessarily be for the right reason.  If your email doesn't get caught in your subscribers' filter or junk folder, using caps and over use of exclamation marks can be off-putting to some recipients. They may take the opinion once they've read the email, that the subject line gave a false impression of urgency - which leaves a bad impression on you, and may make them sceptical about how seriously they should take your emails in the future.
Preview pane
Not everyone will have a preview pane set on their email application, but for those who do, it can have a significant impact on the decision to open or delete an email.  A preview pane allows your subscriber to move beyond the From Name and Subject Line and see a taster of exactly what your email has to offer. As such, a well crafted email that looks good in the preview pane can help improve your open rate.

The first thing to consider is what your subscribers will see if they're viewing your email in a preview pane.  If you're using images within this area take into consideration how your email will appear if your recipients have their images disabled.  It's important to consider your balance of text and images in this area.  If you've used either one large image or lots of images with little or no text, if your recipient has their images disabled you could be missing out on an opportunity to showcase your content and encourage them to open.

For example, how inspiring is the email below when viewed in a horizontal preview pane with images switched off?

Similarly, if someone is using a vertical preview panel, any important message that sits top right of your email is likely to be out of sight until the email is opened in its entirety.

When creating your email consider the layout of your content. When it comes to email marketing it's definitely not a case of save the best for last.  To encourage your subscribers to open your email, try introducing the most interesting content at the top of your email where it's clearly visible within the preview pane. To increase your chances of an open, ensure you have a clear and compelling call to action within your preview pane, this will encourage your subscribers to open your email.

And finally...
When you're reviewing these areas of your email campaign, it's important to remember that your subscribers will not view any one of them in isolation. When testing different approaches, remember what you put in one may dictate what would be best to include in the other.